Can you believe it? It has been six months since I had my colon removed, on 3rd September 2013 I had a sub total colectomy. Six months of having my ileostomy bag, six months of no going to the toilet for a poo, six months of no farting!!
Six months ago at this time, I was waiting on my ward nil by mouth. I had told Timm not to come in as I wanted him to take the kids to school and wanted him to be there when I woke up after the surgery. I sat alone terrified. I knew it was the right thing for me to do but the future seemed so frightening, so unknown. What would life be like with a stoma? How would my family and friend react? What would my kids think? Would I feel like less of a woman after?
All these questions circled around my mind as I lay in that hospital bed waiting for the call. Finally I was taken down to theatre and had just the best care and support before the op, my final thoughts as I drifted off with the anaesthetic were of laying on a beach in Australia with my sister…
I woke in recovery, tired, in pain but relieved to be waking up. Timm was there, he leant over me and hugged and kissed me and though I was in this entirely alien environment, it felt ok because he was there with me. There were issues from the surgery, concern over blood tests and infection and so I spent my first night in HDU. One small room where my bed was in the centre, I had so many wires, tubes and bandages all over me. I had one nurse all through the night who watched over me and kept checking, rechecking and checking again. It was scary but I felt safe and that everything was going to be ok.
I can’t believe that was all six months ago! There have been ups and downs in my recovery but in the last six months I have felt better than I have in the previous ten years. My Ulcerative Colitis has gone and I no longer live in pain and on the toilet. For anyone going through the surgery at this time, just hold on in there, it is a hard slog but things will get better.
In the six months since my surgery I have been to Vietnam, on boat trips and cycled round a Vietnamese island, I have snorkelled with fish and rays in Australia and hiked the Blue Mountains. I have gained an enormous respect for my body and my confidence has gone through the roof. I’ve realised who my true friends and family are and seen the best in human nature in those around me, I have been supported by the kindness of others and Ive helped people going through life problems by blogging my journey so far. I have had a realisation of the frailty and briefness of life and it has made me want to do all those things that I dream about, in my work life, home life and with Timm. It’s made me braver, the things that scared me before suddenly seem so small and easily overcome, after all I had an organ removed and have marched on from it so how can anything else stop me?
Who knows where the next six months will take me. Despite a great recovery so far I am struggling at the moment with a hernia behind my stoma, I do feel like this week has put me a couple of steps back in my recovery. This has hit me emotionally as well as physically, Im frustrated that Im back on bed rest and need to learn the best way to deal with this hernia and the issues around it.
Im planning my pouch surgery with my consultant, Im also moving house, starting a course to improve my writing skills and renewing my wedding vows! All this plus work, running our photography business, a summer tour with arts group Responsible Fishing and raising three kids! It will be a busy year and Im sure there will be ups and downs but in the words of a true Sheffielder, it’ll be reight….
So Happy Six Month No Coloniversary to me!!
Love Sam xx